The Ten Best Outdoor Haunts in Sydney's Lower North Shore
This is where you'll find the best outdoor spots on the lower north shore — whether you're after sparkling harbour, quality park hangs or even some glamping at the zoo.
August 16, 2017
So you've been plotting a move to the lower north shore. You probably don't need any more reasons to decamp to this idyllic part of town, but we're going to give you some anyway. We've rounded up ten of the best outdoor adventures to be had in and around the lower north shore. While many of these are obviously best enjoyed in the warmer months, there's still plenty of outdoorsy fun to be had as the temperatures start to come up again. Kirribilli and Lavender Bay sit in the heart of the region, and they're surrounded on all sides by the stunning Sydney Harbour — which as you know, is beautiful all year round.
WENDY'S SECRET GARDEN, LAVENDER BAY
This not-so-secret garden is, without a doubt, one of Sydney's most beautiful green spaces. Created by Wendy Whiteley, the widow of acclaimed Australian artist Brett Whiteley, the garden is a gorgeous testament to heartbreak and renewal. Channeling her grief into an artistic project, Wendy slowly transformed the abandoned railway dump in front of her home into what is now a public garden. With winding paths, benches, sculptures, and sweeping views over the harbour, this little slice of paradise offers a welcome respite from the chaos of the city. The garden's many quiet corners also make it the perfect place for a quiet picnic, or a little alone time.
BALMORAL PARK, MOSMAN
This leafy little park has a lot going for it — the sweeping views over Middle Harbour and North Head, the proximity to one of Sydney's most idyllic beaches and the solid set of facilities are just a few of them. Active types will love the skatepark, sports oval, and water sport facilities like kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Loungers, meanwhile, will be more than happy to relax on the grass with a book or some music. Balmoral Park is an excellent place for a picnic, but if you forget to pack a hamper, the Balmoral Beach Club, The Boathouse, and The Bathers' Pavilion are all just a stone's throw away.
ROAR AND SNORE GLAMPING, MOSMAN
This unique Sydney adventure lets you spend an evening up close and personal with the animals at Taronga Zoo. The Roar & Snore experience includes an evening 'safari' (if you've always wanted to touch a snake, now's your chance), two behind-the-scene tours of Taronga, and a fancy all-you-can-eat buffet dinner. When all the exploring is done, you'll get to rest your bones in gorgeous luxe tents with wooden floors, hotel beds, and power outlets. Spots are snapped up quickly so make sure to book as far in advance as possible.
SAWMILLER RESERVE, MCMAHONS POINT
This quiet park is one of Sydney's true hidden gems — if you want gorgeous harbour views without the crowds, this is the place for you. Located on the site of a former sawmill, the space exudes a weighty sense of history: from the ruins at the centre of the park to the rusty remains of a hopper barge sitting in the water, there's heaps to explore. Spend some time meandering along the paths before settling down on the grassy expanse for a picnic. The reserve has no facilities to speak of, so make sure to bring along everything you need.
WOOLWICH BATHS, WOOLWICH
It's not hard to see why this small harbour beach is a firm favourite among the Woolwich locals. With a shark net, pontoons, and toilet facilities, it's a great option if you've got young ones in tow. The baths are surrounded by parklands, so you can also wander off for a little walk between dips in the water. This is a great choice for those lazy days when all you want to do is float in the water, read a book, or just watch the clouds float by.
MACCALLUM POOL, CREMORNE
Few Sydney pools can compete with MacCallum's heritage charm and stunning views over the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Tucked away on a quiet lane in Cremorne Point, this idyllic spot has been a local favourite since the 1920s. Although the narrow pool beckons you to do at least a few laps, you could just as easily lounge on the timber deck and soak up some rays. Note, though, that there are no toilet or shower facilities here. Still, it's free entry so you'll have more money to put towards that post-swim ice cream.
LANE COVE NATIONAL PARK, LANE COVE
This gorgeous expanse of bushland is a mere skip and a jump from the city centre but you'll feel far, far away from the chaos of metropolitan living. Escaping the hustle and bustle doesn't mean you have to forgo the creature comforts however: the park has a pool, wireless internet, fully-equipped kitchens and four amenities blocks. Spend the day bushwalking — we recommend the two-and-a-half hour Fairylands loop track — or on the Lane Cove River, with a kayak or rowboat rented from the Boat Shed. Keen to spend the night? Pack a tent or, if you're more of a glamper, book into Tandara Luxury Safari.
BURNS BAY RESERVE, RIVERVIEW
Sitting on the shores of the Lane Cover River, this quaint waterfront park is the perfect place for a tranquil afternoon picnic. If you're keen for a barbecue, remember to bring your own wood as the facilities here are of the old-school variety. After stuffing your face, burn off your meal with a game of soccer on the Burns Bay Oval or some basketball on the nearby court. There's also a cute little playground for the young ones. While there are a few picnic tables scattered around, there's also plenty of space to stretch out on a picnic blanket.
BLUES POINT RESERVE, MCMAHONS POINT
This park is a firm favourite among both tourists and locals and it's not hard to see why. While Sydney has many parks with stunning views, Blues Point Reserve is undoubtedly one of the best vantage points for taking in the city skyline and the harbour. While the park is packed with crowds during the NYE fireworks, it tends to be rather quiet for the rest of the year. Kids (and kidults) will love the newly-revamped nautical-themed playground, and there's also a lovely path that meanders around the headland if you're in the mood for a stroll. We recommend packing a sunset picnic for a picture-perfect date night.
OBELISK BEACH, MOSMAN
Obelisk Beach has great views and not just because it's one of the only legal nude beaches in Sydney. While the walk down to this Mosman beach is not for the faint of heart — you'll have to scramble down a rocky track and down a long set of stairs — it's more than worth it for the stunning views over Sydney Harbour. Despite its cult status, Obelisk is usually rather tranquil, so it's a great spot to head for a quiet little skinny dip.
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